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Saturday, December 30, 2006

Salade Frisee with Deep-Fried Poached Egg



Ever since I saw this done on Iron Chef America (with an ostrich egg I think), I wanted to try this. You poach an egg, coat it in breadcrumbs and then deep-fry it. Then I saw Devra First's favorites list in last Wednesday's Boston Globe which included the frisee salad from Petit Robert Bistro. Devra called this "..the most decadent salad ever." So of course I had to try making one myself!

I didn't use quite as much frisee as the Petit Robert version and I also didn't include lardons or bacon (only because I didn't happen to have any on hand). I spiced it up a bit by mixing some piment d'Espelette (a red pepper condiment popular in the Basque regions of France and Spain) into the Panko breadcrumbs. Finally, I used a Basil dressing instead of the traditional vinaigrette.

Wow, was this good (if I do say so myself)! The piment d'Espelette added a nice little kick and the basil dressing still had enough acidity to cut through the egg.

This is not something I'll have every day, but it's definitely going on the list as a special occasion brunch dish. Can't wait to try this out on my wife's French relatives...

Click on the picture to see my creation in all it's runny goodness...

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

This is not your father's Doctor Who




I am a major Doctor Who fan. For those of you unfamiliar with "the Doctor", this is the longest running sci-fi TV series in the world. It originally ran on the BBC from 1963 to 1989 and has since become a cult classic. I started watching Doctor Who some time in the 70s. It was known for its quirky scripts, quirky actors, and shall we say, a somewhat "conservative" approach to special effects. It was also known for the creative way in which the producers dealt with cast changes. When William Hartnell, who played the Doctor from 1963 to 1966, left the series (allegedly due to ill health, but perhaps also because of disagreements with the producers), it was discovered that the Doctor was a Time Lord and that time lords can regenerate. This enabled the Doctor to be played by 7 different actors (8 if you count the TV movie). The Doctor also had traveling companions who came and went over the course of the series. It was always a bit disconcerting when the Doctor regenerated or when a sidekick was replaced. But after a while, it seemed like they had been traveling in the Doctors time-machine/spaceship, the TARDIS, forever.

Last year, the series was revived by BBC Wales with the help of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. In the States, it's being shown on the SciFi channel. The original series is now referred to as the "classic series." It's not surprising that the new series is not generally considered to be a continuation of the old. This is something completely different... The production values are much better as are many of the scripts. The whole series has more of the feel of a modern-day sci-fi series.

We're now up to the tenth Doctor, played by David Tennant. Some of you may recognize him as Barty Crouch Jr. from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. This Doctor is a bit more emotional than the "classic" Doctors and the writers have actually given us a peek inside his mind. He's still the quirky, not-quite-human Time Lord but, in this series, the Doctor has fallen in love with his sidekick, Rose, played by British actress and singer Billie Piper. I'm fairly certain that's a first for the Doctor. Or at least it's the first time that one of the Doctor's sidekicks admits to having fallen in love with him and that he appears to have fallen in love with her. It really gives the show a whole new dimension.

*** Spoiler alert. Don't read beyond here if you haven't seen this season's finale ***

Unfortunately, it also makes dealing with new Doctors and new sidekicks that much more disturbing. This season's finale was marked by the departure of Billie Piper in an absolutely gut-wrenching scene in which Rose escapes an invasion of Earth by traveling to an Earth in a parallel universe. In order to save his Earth, the Doctor has to seal the dimensional rift between the two worlds thus separating himself from Rose forever. Yes, I know... It sounds completely hokey, but it really wasn't. Especially in the last scene where the Doctor is able to communicate with Rose one last time before the dimensional rift is sealed completely. OK fine, watch the episode yourself. If you can honestly tell me that you weren't moved...well...then...your just a heartless CyberMan or maybe even a Dalek!

In any case, the new series has rekindled my interest in Doctor Who. I think it's as good as any sci-fi series on TV today. That includes Battlestar Galactica (which by the way, is not your father's Battlestar Galactica) which many devotees of the genre consider to be the best TV sci-fi series ever. I happen to be more in the Babylon 5 camp myself, but I digress...

So of course, I went and Googled Doctor Who and came up with a number of great sites including Outpost Gallifrey, the official BBC site, and WhoMix, a very cool site containing remixes of the Doctor Who theme posted by fans of the series and its theme music. Last time I looked, there were over 200 versions of the Doctor Who theme posted.

If you're a fan of the original series, you're going to love the new series. If you're not, maybe now is the time to give the good Doctor a shot?


Friday, December 22, 2006

Two-Martini weekend

No. It's not what you think. Thanksgiving is always a lot of fun, but this past Thanksgiving was particularly special. My sister Steph married Dean Martini (yes, that's his real name) during that weekend after what can only be described as a whirlwind romance and even more whirlwind wedding planning.

I've created a Tabblo containing pictures from this very special Thanksgiving.


Tabblo: A Two-martini weekend (Steph & Dean's Wedding)


Bathsheba Mathematical Sculptures

Here's one for Ned. Very cool mathematical sculptures by Bathsheba Grossman.

via Cool Tools

Sunday, December 17, 2006

FCC drops Morse code requirement for "ham" radio licenses

Wow, this is really upsetting. It seems that amateur radio operators no longer have to pass a Morse code test as part of the licensing exam. I was a ham radio operator in my younger days. My call sign was WB2AKB, my father was WA2SMB, and my uncle was K2JXP. A couple of friends and I took great pride in our knowledge of CW (which stands for "carrier wave", the ham-geek term for Morse code) and how many WPM (words per minute) we could handle. You could get a Novice license at 5 WPM and then for the General through Extra "tickets" you had to be faster and faster. I think I was up somewhere above 20 WPM when I finally gave up the hobby. And I can still read Morse code to this day, although not at 20 WPM...

The Amateur Radio Relay League (ARRL) site called this the end of an era. I agree...

Friday, December 08, 2006

Jerome Murat - French Performance Art

I'm not exactly sure how to describe this work by Jerome Murat, but it's pretty cool.

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